Mission & History
We are the music of the future. We set high standards for artistry and education. We learn and perform in harmony. We are Golden State Youth Orchestra.
Two core principles underlie the GSYO mission:
- Music Education, to nurture, train and develop young musicians from culturally diverse backgrounds and encourage a lasting appreciation of music.
- Musical Excellence, to provide high-quality performance opportunities for young people and outstanding musical events for the wider community.
Golden State Youth Orchestra (GSYO) previously El Camino Youth Symphony (ECYS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1963 by William Galbraith, a young maestro who envisioned an orchestra that would give youth musicians the opportunity to perform challenging standard professional repertoire.
In 1965, Robert Sayre, then principal cellist with the San Francisco Symphony, became one of the first professional musicians to perform with GSYO. Since then, GSYO has continued to invite artists of international stature to perform as guest soloists with our highest level ensemble Senior Symphony. To learn more about all of the guest artists we have had please visit below.
In 2019, we welcomed our tenth music director, Maestro John Eells, Sinfonietta Conductor, who stepped into the position of Music Director and Co-Conductor of Senior Symphony. For a complete list of our previous Music Directors please visit below.
As of April 7, 2018, El Camino Youth Symphony has officially become Golden State Youth Orchestra. The former name was thought to be confusing especially when the Senior Symphony toured internationally. Often people believed we were from Spain or Latin America rather than representing the USA and the magnificent state of California. The new Golden State Youth Orchestra name clearly states the purpose of the organization, and the Golden State is synonymous with California. The goal of the rebrand was to more accurately represent our home state and the strength and depth of the value we bring to our students.
Concerts tours, retreats, participation in music festivals, and exchanges with other youth orchestras are a vital part of the GSYO experience.
Previous Music Directors
2014 - 2019: Dr. Jindong Cai
1994 - 2014: Dr. Camila Kolchinsky
1991 - 1993: Melissa McBride
1989 - 1990: Charles Barber
1987 - 1988: Leroy Kromm
1975 - 1986: Dr. Arthur Barnes
1970 - 1974: Nelson Tandoc
1969: Denis de Couteau
1963 - 1968: William Galbraith
Previous Guest Artists
2019: Stephen Prutsman, Pianist - Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto / Emil Miland, Cellist - Bloch Schelomo: Rhapsodie Hébraïque / Vladislav Kern, Pianist - Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto & Rachmaninoff Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
2018: Maestro Michael Morgan, Music Director - Oakland Symphony - Copland Lincoln Portrait (narrator) / Taylor Eigsti, Pianist - Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue / Van Anh Vo, composer - Orginal work Lulluaby for a Country
2017: David Kim, Concertmaster - Philadelphia Orchestra - Mendelssohn Violin Concerto
2016: Jon Nakamatsu - Grieg Piano Concerto
2015: Sandra Shen - De Falla Noches en los Jardines Espana / Chen Zhao - Sarasate Navarra for Two Violins
2014: Ilya Yakushev - Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1
2013: Philipe Quint - Bruch Violin Concerto / Naomi Kudo & Brandon Ridenour - Shostakovich Concerto for Piano, Trumpet and String Orchestra
2012: Zuill Bailey - Dvorak Cello Concerto
2011: David Kim, Concertmaster - Philadelphia Orchestra - Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto
2010: Claire Huangci - Saint-Saens Piano Concerto No. 2
2009: Michelle Kim, Assistant Concertmaster - New York Philharmonic / Sumire Kudo, Cellist - Brahms Double Concerto
2008: Martin Chalifour, Principal Concertmaster - Los Angeles Philharmonic - Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto
2006: David Kim, Concertmaster - Philadelphia Orchestra, Bruch Scottish Fantasy / Robert Chen, Concertmaster - Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Brahms Violin Concerto
2005: Rueibin Chen - Liszt Piano Concerto No. 1
2004: Jon Nakamatsu - Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1
2003: Alexander Barantshik - Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 1
2002: Jon Nakamatsu - Liszt Piano Concerto No. 2 / Dr. Michail Gelfandbein - Bruch Koi Nidrei
2001: Vladamir Viardo - Rachmaninov Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
2000: Bin Huang and Inna Nassidze - Brahms Double Concerto
1996: Philippe Quint - Paganini Violin Concerto
1994 - 2016: Cathy Spieth - Former Executive Director
1994 - 2015: Camilla Kolchinsky - Conductor Emeritus
Michail Gelfandbein - Former Conductor of Chamber Players and Camerata Orchestra
Learn about ALL the talented people who make GSYO happen.